A Special Aunt Remembered
Look at you. You are so happy. Delighting in Kendall’s Christmas excitement. Enjoying everyone open presents. Smiling with little cares. Your dad who loves you so much is sitting behind you, your family around you. Who knew that the only photo I would be able to find of you on my computer would be this little corner of a picture? This little snippet in time of a happy moment with our family together? Who knew when this was taken on Christmas in 2002 that you would be taken from us just six years later? No one. No one saw the cancer coming. Cancers just work like that sometimes.
I mourn the loss of your life on so many levels. I mourn that you didn’t get to live the full life we all assumed you would live. I mourn that you aren’t going to be around to watch your nieces and nephew grow up—something you enjoyed so much. You were such a stable person in our family. You were the consistency that we needed when we didn’t even know we needed it. Every holiday, graduation, and memorable event you were there, with your camera documenting every move. I have the most incredible college graduation photos because you were there, because you cared. You waved at me from the stands and took candid ones of me with my friends. You wanted to be at all of these events whether we begged you to come or not because you wanted to be involved in our lives. You were never in a photo, but always behind the lens. You didn’t need to be the center of attention, you just needed to be present. You were so proud of us and you wanted to be a part of our lives. I was often too foolish and self-absorbed to appreciate you back. Can you forgive me? I forgive you for always pinching me when I was a kid and calling me a brat. I wasn’t trying to be a brat, it just hurt sometimes. I forgive you.
At first I wondered what your legacy would be. What would you be remembered by? But now I know. You cared selflessly for others and you treasured life. You supported your nieces and nephew more than we realized. You left behind an ambition for adventure. Whether you were experiencing an adventure in a novel or an adventure down under in Australia, you left no stone unturned. Your curiosity and vivacity inspires others. You left a library of books at your house and grandpa’s house is filled with collages and photos of his children and grandchildren that you created with love. You left behind a legacy of pictures. At every event, you documented life in great detail. Those photos don’t die with you. Your servant’s heart doesn’t die with you. And most of all, the family that you loved lives on for you. You inspire me to seize every day, to seize every moment. To care about others.
Too often we don’t realize how special someone is until they’re gone. May your life never be overlooked or forgotten. You fought an incredible fight against that cancer. Doctors didn’t think you would live as long as you did. You weren’t going to give up. Until your last few days you were still fighting to make it. You were never willing to accept that you were dying. It was amazing, yet hard to hear. I’ll never forget that I was standing outside in Washington D.C., between the U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. Capitol building when my mom called to say you only had a few days left. What a juxtaposition of justice. Standing near the nation’s epitome of justice, it seemed so unjust for you to go. You wanted so badly to survive. It was too soon for you to go. You still had audio books waiting to download. Sights to see. Pictures to take. Family milestones to attend. You weren’t ready to go and we weren’t ready to say goodbye. I have to trust now in God’s perfect plan and timing. He knew when your first day was and when your last would be. I feel like it’s too soon, like life was ripped out of your grip, but He felt that it was the perfect timing and I have to trust in that.
If I could turn back the clocks, I would. I’d tell you more often that I loved you. I’d tell you that I needed you. I would tell you that I was proud of you. Now you’re gone. It’s too late. If I called your house, you wouldn’t answer. Your cell phone won’t ring. That hurts. It hurts when people are gone; especially if you didn’t value them enough while they were here. I’m so sorry I didn’t give you the love you deserved. You lived an incredible life with a short span. You will live on through your family. Through your friends. And through your pictures. Not the ones you are in, but the hundreds that you took. I will miss you at holidays, milestones, and memorable events. Who will be there to pick up the torch and carry on your legacy?
I love you and wish you knew how much I did.
You will always be missed.
HAIRE, Cynthia "Beth" 55, passed away April 27, 2009, at home under the care of Hospice, after battling cancer for a year. She is survived by her mother of St. Petersburg, Elizabeth Lowe; her brother Jerry Haire; father Fred Haire of Tennessee; many aunts and uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, special friend and aunt Eloise Head of Fairhope, AL; and her friends at Baycare Health Systems, where she worked for 15 years. Memorial to be at a later date.